Hideo Kojima’s impact on digital gaming extends even to his lost projects. Playable Teaser, better known as P.T., was released on the PS4 Store on August 12, 2014 and permanently deleted less than a year later. The game is a short, looping walk through of a series of hallways and connected rooms of suburban gothic home. With each loop through the halls, the world of P.T. becomes increasingly haunted and surreal. Much like its gameplay, P.T. has left a spectral mark on game design.
P.T.’s critical and cult success is the result of it being at the intersection of a few leylines. The teaser was connected to a larger project, Kojima’s entry into the Silent Hill franchise featuring horror maestro Guillermo del Toro. It also came at the public and volatile split between Kojima and Konami. Since, there have been a few high profile fan remakes including Qismar’s remake and Radius Gordello’s Unreal P.T. Both of these remakes were taken down shortly after launch.
We are haunted by P.T. These fan remakes and the heavily inspired titles such Allison Road (Far From Home, 2015), Visage (SadSquare Studio, 2018), and September 1999 (98DEMAKE, 2018), represent a collective struggle with a lost, ludic future in the ever shrinking pool of “playable” copies of the original P.T.
The enigmatic haunting in P.T. prefigured the game’s real world existence. Alison Road, September 1999, and Visage are not visions of a world denied, they are possessions. P.T.—a game about a haunting with no certain ending or beginning—rattles through our collective game design psyche like the very ghosts it set out to haunt us with. P.T. started out as an innovative marketing ploy for a forthcoming Kojima title, but through accident and corporate spite, became a hauntological genre in and of itself.
The death of Silent Hills and the exorcism of P.T. has left us wandering down corridors, attempting to understand this fragmentary specter.